Sanitizing your Internet information
It is extremely important for an employee plaintiff to be cautious about any potentially negative information that he or she may have placed on the Internet.
There are two problems with Internet information and social networking websites:
- First, personal blogs, personal websites and social networking sites come in and out of fashion. Many people simply forget about all of the possible websites that contain information about themselves and/or they forget about the information that they have posted about themselves on those sites that they do remember. Some of the types of websites to be concerned about include: personal websites, personal blogs, the websites of the plaintiff’s friends, family members and co-workers, the blogs of the plaintiff’s friends, family members, and co-workers, Internet dating sites, social networking sites, alumni association websites, and career placement sites.
- Second, the employee plaintiff may not understand what might be “negative” or “derogatory” in the context of a lawsuit against the employer. For example, a plaintiff in a sexual harassment lawsuit may not think that the nude photos that she has on her social networking site or the nude photos that her boyfriend posted on an amateur nude photo site is in any way negative, derogatory or harmful to her lawsuit. Although likely not relevant to her claims of sexual harassment, most attorneys would want those photos taken down for the duration of the case. Similarly, in an age discrimination case, a plaintiff may not view his advocacy of white supremacy on his personal blog to be negative or even tangentially related to his claims of age discrimination. His attorneys, however, would clearly want that information removed lest the judge, arbitrator or jury somehow learn about it.